A Once Distant Memory Chapter 10
By Shaun Curran
The next morning I awoke to hear birds chirping away near my porthole deep in the ship. I rose, and looked out the window. Mirana Harbor was approaching; the rocky, narrow strait that served as the entrance to the harbor was right out my window. I scurried to the top deck, and looked out.
"We're at Mirana," I said. Quelchen clapped.
"Very good, Janus, you're right; this is where we wanted to be anyway, right?"
"Right," I said," now: where is the Blackbird?"
"Blackbird's right over there." Magus pointed to the hill just above our landing point. Behind the hill, I could see the familiar blackness of the Blackbird's gasbag, just faintly visible.
"So we attack the ship itself?" Magus shrugged.
"I suppose the best thing to do would be to go into town to find out what Dalton and Kamus are up to. Only then, will we have at least some kind of chance against them." I nodded.
"So we land and go to Mirana."
"Exactly." Shikeo came up topside.
"Funny," he said," I was here two days ago." I snickered.
"Shikeo, you going to stay here? We can let you off, if you wish."
"My goal is not a success until we've killed Dalton." I nodded.
"I respect your goals, and I respect your wishes," Magus said before I could get anything out. I remained silent.
We took down the sails and prepared to row over with the small boat. The seas were calm, but on the horizon, where we had just entered the harbor, the skies looked threatening, menacing, black. I wondered if the storm was going out to sea, or if it was going to slam into us just as we left.
"That storm there," I said, pointing, once we had arrived on the land," is going to hit us, right?" I got no answer, but it was just as well.
We rushed through the center of town to Shikeo's tavern and walked inside. I hid my sword in my tunic. I don't know if Shikeo had a hunch that Kamus was at the tavern or not, but Magus was the one that recognized him. Perhaps I had not seen him in a while it made me forget exactly what he looked like from the rear. Magus whipped out his sword with more speed than even myself could ever dream to. Kamus whirled around and sliced downward. I gasped. The sword missed me; but I had felt the wind from it. It must have come just scant inches from my nose. Magus dragged me behind him, and began to attack Kamus.
Someone picked me up, a tall, strong brute. There was a slice, and he began to fall; my sword hid in my tunic certainly did have some use. He dropped me just before he hit the deck with a deafening thud.
I watched as another rough-looking dude slammed his fist into Quelchen's midsection. Quelchen staggered and Sarbll took over, grabbing Quelchen's sword from the hilt and impaling the man's midsection with it. The brute fell. Quelchen took back the sword from Sarbll, and simply thanked her.
Kamus backed toward the door and prepared for a quick escape. I tried to stop him by maybe getting in his way, the path of the door, but at the first opportune moment, he tore out the door and was gone. I rushed outside to look for him, but it seemed that he had just evaporated.
"Where'd he go?" asked Magus. I shook my head, sadly.
"Now what do we do?" asked Quelchen. I shook my head again.
"I don't know. What do you suggest?"
"That we aim for the Blackbird, and head toward the Mililani Peninsula."
"We're going to have to hurry if we're going to make it," replied Sarbll. She began to run to the Doreen, with us in tow.
The Blackbird made a hasty departure to the air.
"We'll use the Armageddon Cannon," said Quelchen, preparing to aim the gun.
"No, you fool!" I cried," Schala's probably aboard it!" Magus put a hand on my shoulder.
"He's right," he replied," Quelchen, we can't afford to lose Schala. I doubt I, or Janus, would ever live with ourselves if something like that ever happened." Quelchen nodded.
"Get down!" shouted Sarbll. A deafening explosion rose out of the water a few feet from where we were standing.
"What the hell?" I asked.
"Their Armageddon Cannon. We've got to get out of here!" Magus shouted. He furiously began to undo the ropes to the sails. I joined him, and Quelchen, with Sarbll in tow, took the anchor up and we began to drift out of the harbor.
"Why don't we just shoot their gas-bag?" asked Quelchen.
"If you could guarantee that there would be no explosions, I'm all for it."
"Why no explosions?"
"That airship is laden with hydrogen," said Magus," hydrogen explodes, plain and simple." Quelchen blushed.
"I knew that."
"Sure you did," I muttered, concentrating on steering the ship. Another plume of water gushed up in front of us, sending the spray of the water into our eyes. It stung; it was not fresh water, it was salt water.
"Curses," muttered Quelchen, rubbing his eyes," we've got to head into the storm to avoid them!"
"That's stupid," I said," the storm will swallow us whole!"
"Better than getting destroyed." But just then the Blackbird changed her course and began to head north.
"Yay," I said," now we don't have to worry about sailing into the storm!"
"Too late," Magus said," the storm sailed into us." The sky became pitch dark and it began to rain. The seas pitched and yawed every which way, sending us slamming into the sides of the ship. I grabbed Shikeo before he got thrown overboard and we managed to get below safely.
Later that night, we felt the storm's brute force. The previous rocking had been a love tap. The sides of the boat came up to about seventy degrees from level. We were all tossed around like little toys.
"Grab ahold of something!" I shouted. I grasped a rope that was dangling from the ceiling and held on for dear life.
It was hours later that the fierce pounding ended. I found myself rocking gently in about an inch of water. Had my face been down, I probably would have died. I rose from the dripping water flowing freely around me and found Shikeo face down on the floor. I nudged him gently, but he did not move. Magus was up in a few minutes; I had Quelchen, Sarbll, and Shikeo on their backs, their heads propped up on sopping wet pillows.
"Magus, where are we?"
"I don't know," Magus replied," we'd better stay below for a little while longer."
"What about the others?"
"They'll be all right. They've just taken a few hard hits, that's all."
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